Sunday, April 12, 2015

Epic April Spring Ski Day at Saddleback

After a winter of incredible skiing we got an outstanding spring day at Saddleback. With deep cover, the bright sunshine and temps around 50 made a stellar ski day.

After about 11am, the natural trails loosened up and skied great. Everything was awesome all day. Groomers, Woods, Bumps - all were outstanding. The old man took a tumble down Governor head wall - check out the video evidence below... but no harm done.

Enough words - our day was just a bunch of this.

NO HARM DONE! But a bit of a fall by the A Family Skiing in Maine old man on the Governor headwall. Ski got caught and down we go!
Posted by A Family Skiing in Maine on Sunday, April 12, 2015

Saturday, April 4, 2015

An April Powder Day at Saddleback Maine

The incredible ski season of 2014-15 continued on April 4, 2015 with a fun powder day at Saddleback.

Lots of snow in Lower Thrombosis Glade
Friday April 3rd by all accounts was a warm and sunny spring day with hero snow and bumps. What a difference a few hours makes - back to winter! On Saturday we drove up from Freeport in the rain but it changed to snow just a few miles outside of Rangeley. It snowed steadily all morning piling up to around 4" and we got some really sweet powder turns in late morning. Upper nightmare skied incredibly well. We hit the Governor head wall and found some sweet turns on this trail. Early in the day turns on Frost Bite, Black Beauty and Wardens Worry did not disappoint.

We were looking for some more great upper mountain turns after our lunch but the wind picked up as predicted and put the two upper chairs on wind hold. So we did a couple of runs off the T-Bar but the snow on the lower mountain was a bit warmer and not quite as good, so we called it around 2:30 very satisfied with our ski day.

It's April 4th?
It is a different world up at Saddleback. The snow is DEEP and will easily last throughout the season. It may be mud season back home but the spring skiing at Saddleback is and will continue to be most excellent. Saddleback will be open weekends at least through April 19th and maybe longer if the skiers support the mountain - so get out there and enjoy it!

Happy Easter everyone. Here is our video edit of the day. Our turns down Nightmare glade at 0:55 were quite fun for all of us!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Impressive March Skiing at Saddleback

The View and Snow at Saddleback is Outstanding
I had to go to to come up with ideas for a new adjective to describe our ski day. I have to say impressive is a good way to describe Saturday March 28th at Saddleback. We are so impressed by how good this skiing has been for so long this year. This is truly a ski season for the ages and I am really happy this blog has been a mechanism for us to capture it.

Temps were comfy - in the upper 20's / lower 30's with the sun poking out from behind the clouds occasionally, but spring really hasn't started at Saddleback yet. No matter your ability today it was great skiing. The cover is deep and the spring skiing should really be outstanding. Great crowd on the hill with lots of friendly smiles on peoples faces.

After today Saddleback is open April 3,4,5 and April 11,12 from 9:30 to 5:00. They will be open longer into April if the people and snow hold up. The snow won't be a problem, so everyone get to Saddleback for some awesome April skiing!

I will let the pictures and video tell the rest of the story.

@AlecPhoto with some Frost Bite Air

@AlecPhoto finding the Untracked on Frost Bite

Juley Carving up the Soft Snow - This is March 28?

Black Beauty Head Wall and the Gorgeous View

Juley Carving up the Soft Snow on Front Bite

@AlecPhoto Sizing Up a Turn

@MaineSkiFamily Old Man on the New Bizzard Bonafides

Just an Amazing View at Saddleback - Never Gets Old!

Here is our video from the day. It was the three of us as the youngest had a weekend youth event. Lots of great skiing by @AlecPhoto and highlights include:

  • 0:37 Jane Craig double cliff huck
  • 0:45 @MaineSkiFamily Old Man Cam on Tight Line
  • 1:04 Upper Governor Glade
  • 1:56 Mom Cam on Governor

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bluebird March Ski Day at Saddleback

What a gorgeous mid-week ski day at Saddleback. A co-worker and I took the day off and enjoyed a
Could not beat the view today at Saddleback
bluebird no wind day. Temps were upper 20's to lower 30's with great views and great snow. 

The groomer were spot-on. The woods and bumps were a bit firm, but easy to get an edge in and everything was a lot of fun.

Last weekend I broke my trusty Rossi Phantoms that were 170cm in length and 87 underfoot. I really liked these skis but they were 6 years old and I had a lot of great runs on them. Today was a good day to ride some demos from the Saddleback ski shop.

I first got on some Solomon Quest 90 underfoot 177cm in length. These skis rocked the groomers. I could lay down both quick and long arching turns. Just a tad too long in the woods and bumps however and did not feel comfortable on those skis off the groomed trials.   

So then I tried out some Blizzard Bramhas 173cm 88 underfoot. These skis were quick and lively and I found them very good in the trees and bumps. It was the first time I have skied a ski with a rocker so I had to push my shins into the front of my boot to really engage the edge. Overall I liked these skis quite well. 

However, I wanted to try something a bit wider, so I got on the Blizzard Bonafides 173cm 98 underfoot. These skis still felt great in the woods and bumps, I could engage them a little easier on the groomers and I just felt like I had a little more meat under my feet. I love to ski through the crud and variable snow on the edges of the trial and this ski really plowed through that stuff nicely. So that is my winner and I took them home. 

The Blizzard Bonafide's - I am a happy camper!
For mid-week there was a decent crowd at Saddleback soaking up the sun and fine weather. Looks like a bit of wet weather is coming so I am am ready for some spring skiing corn harvest! Get out there and ski it!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Weather Channel Interview, Busted Ski and Another Great March Ski Day at Saddleback

We had an interesting week in the @MaineSkiFamily household. After a great ski day on Sunday, Monday looked even better up at Saddleback but work and school called. On Wednesday, I was going to take the day off to go skiing with a co-worker, but the wind was howling, the temps around zero so we did not make the drive up. The lifts ended up not turning so it was a good call not to go. I love winter but I have to say I am getting ready for a bit of spring skiing. I am all done with freezer burn survival skiing for this year!

During the day on Wednesday, I put out a tweet complaining about having to wear earmuffs at noontime in Portland Maine on March 18. A producer from the weather channel saw my tweet and contacted me asking for an interview. They were looking for folks to interview experiencing Maine's never ending winter and said they would show a few of my pictures. I thought my son Alec would be a better interview since he drives most of the image work for this blog. So they lined up Alec for an interview on the Weather Channel during the My Weather segment.

Alec did a great job and it was cool to see him and some of his pics on National TV. Unfortunately our home Wifi internet connection cut out halfway through the segment so they lost the Skype connection. However, Alec still got some air time and they were nice to talk about his pictures even after the connection dropped. Here is a recording of the interview.

Looking at the weather forecast we saw Saturday March 21 was going to be a much nicer day to ski than Sunday. We had another great ski day! We could tell the mid-week winds had really scoured the
Isaac going big in Thrombosis Glade
open areas. However, the groomers were fantastic. Tight Line and Supervisor were great early although they did show some scratch later in the day. 

As they day wore on, it warmed up softening the snow and the skier traffic loosened up the top layer very nicely. Jane Craig, Peachy's Peril, Governor, Nightmare Glades and some of our other favorites skied extremely well in the mid-day sun. Temps got into the mid-30's mid-day. It felt like a heat wave!

There was a great crowd on the hill! It seemed like there were a lot of visitors at Saddleback. Hopefully they all had a great day!

Around mid-day our social media feeds starting reporting about the lift accident at Sugarloaf. The King Pine lift started slipping backwards and some people got hurt. Scary! We were just on that lift last weekend. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.

I like to tease my family about throwing down some 'Old Man Air' and thrashing my way down Peachy's Peril (probably my favorite trail) doing some 'Old Man Bumps'. Well, it looks like my 6 Year old Rossi Phantoms have had enough. Halfway down Peachy's I felt my left foot seemingly get loose in the binding after smacking a bump. I stopped and looked down at my binding and all looked OK. So I skied a couple of more runs and in the flats and run outs my left ski just seemed squirrely and would not go straight. We stopped and the Yurt and once I took my ski off I figured it out pretty quickly. Big time de-lamination under my binding!

This... is a problem.

It is the end of the season so there should be deals on skis. I will have to demo some models the next time I am at Saddleback. 

Here is our video recap of the day. Highlights include:

  • Double Jane Craig Cliff Huck at 0:12
  • Governor Head wall entrance at 0:25
  • Black Beauty at 1:17
  • Tri-Color with glimpse of @MaineSkiFamily Mom at 1:50
  • Old Man Cam on Parmacheenee Bell at 2:17
  • Tight line seeded moguls at 2:42
  • Fresh lines in unnamed secret glade 3:02

Monday, March 16, 2015

Free Refills for a Stellar March Saddleback Sunday

Old Man Finding some Fresh at Saddleback
We had a great March 14-15 weekend in the mountains for western Maine. On Saturday, we went to Sugarloaf to ski and Isaac participated in the Ski the East freestyle competition. Isaac did well ripping his way down Ripsaw in front of the judges and had a good time. The skiing overall was OK - it was pretty icy due to the recent thaw freeze cycle but we still got some good turns in.

In the freestyle contest, the Sugarloaf event manager was on the microphone at the bottom of the course announcing competitors, home mountain and other info about them. When he announced Isaac skied at Saddleback he booed. I admit it was good natured ribbing and the announcer was trying to keep things lively. Saddleback and Sugarloaf are competitors after all. Not a huge deal but not a great way to treat a guest on the mountain either... especially considering the over $300 I spent at Sugarloaf Saturday on lift tickets and entry fees. Next time maybe I will just keep that cash in my pocket and go ski Saddleback.

Rant over and on to Sunday where we skied the best mountain in Maine IMHO - Saddleback. It was
awesome. We stayed the night at the Rangeley Inn and awoke to 3" of snow. According to the radar it looked like the snow was over but my oldest Alec swore we were going to get more. He was right! After a bit of freezing fog early, it starting snowing at 10am and kept snowing hard the rest of the day. Free refills! I am guessing we had 7" when we stopped skiing and it was still snowing hard.

By mid-day it was a whole lotta THIS!
Juley Finding Fresh on Black Beauty
Everything skied great and by the afternoon ski patrol opened the head walls of Wardens Worry, Frost Bite and Black Beauty. The snow just kept piling up and there was powder everywhere. Deep soft turns until our legs gave out around 3pm. Nice crowd on the hill, people on chairs all the time and in the true Saddleback way, most of the day we had the trials to ourselves. Saddleback has great terrain and just does not overcrowd the trails. Each run is unique and a true Maine ski experience.

Here is the video from our day. Highlights include the boys ripping the snowfields skiers right of Wardens Worry at 1:02; Old Man Cam at 1:09 including nice wipe out in Thrombosis; and our boys Alec and Isaac just ripping it up everywhere at Saddleback. One of the best days of the year and we have had a bunch of good ones!

Monday, March 9, 2015

More of the Same - Great March Skiing at Saddleback

What a great ski season we are having in Maine! It started with an awesome opening day at Saddleback and the conditions have stayed consistently stellar all winter. Sunday March 8th was no different at Saddleback Maine.

One word of the day - the snow was FAST. It was not icy, but it was that perfect mid-20's
Lift Ride During a Saddleback Snow Squall
temperature along with a fresh coat of wax on the boards made our skis zip along the snow. It made the woods a bit tricky. Although most of the gladed terrain had great cover and you could always get an edge in, after two turns you were looking to scrub off speed - it was that quick. So if you were not quick on your feet the woods got a bit challenging.

The goomers were A+. Deep base everywhere an only minimal scratch towards the end of the day. It snowed lightly most of the day, with a couple of heavier squalls after lunch. They probably picked up an inch or so and it freshened things up a bit to make for some fun afternoon turns. Upper Professor and Jane Craig skied great and Peachy's Peril had some car sized moguls for those looking to bounce off firm bumps.

It was the day after daylight savings time switch over so it was a late arriving crowd, but by mid-day there was a nice crowd on the hill with the occasional modest lift line. Good to see Saddleback selling some day tickets.

OldMan Hucking Professor
This time of year the mountains of Maine usually get nuked with snow while closer to the coast gets more mixed precipitation. That would work for me! Bring it mother nature!

Our video edit of the day. Even the old man tried to huck the Professor cliff at 2:45 with mixed
results. Saddleback is skiing great right now. Go out and ski it!